Mónica Millán

1960 | San Ignacio, Argentina
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Mónica Millán — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Portrait of Mónica Millán by Federico Gross, 2022, courtesy of the artist

Argentine visual and textile artist.

Mónica Millán is a Zen Buddhist nun as well as an artist. Meditation, breathing, cooking and sewing, along with her artistic practice, are all part of her creative process. She studied at the Profesorado de Dibujo y Pintura Antonio Ruiz de Montoya in Posadas and has spent several periods dedicated to introspection at Zen monasteries in Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil and France, where she put her artistic output on hold and then returned to painting through exercises involving a brush with a single hair, as in El viaje por el Río [The river voyage, 1996-1997]. From 1986 to 1989 she studied with Luis Felipe Noé (b. 1933). She has received grants from the Fundación Antorchas, the Fondo Nacional de las Artes, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes.

In 2000 she was awarded a grant from Trama, an international project for cooperation among artists that ran until 2006. She was also associated with RAIN, an international network of initiatives by artists from the global South. The reciting of sutras and other Zen Buddhist practices transformed her creative process into one of ceremonies and rituals. Her pieces are testament to constant movement and close attention to the disciplined perfection of the tiniest details. She had residencies at the Banff Centre of the Arts in Canada (2001) and in Bellagio, Italy (2004). Around 2002 she made Jardín de resonancias [Garden of resonances], an installation constructed from natural materials such as nests, feathers, leaves, roots, mud sculptures and sounds. Her long walks through the hills and collection of organic materials led her to create cocoons and containers that emit recordings of the artist’s voice. This work was displayed at the Museo Moderno de Buenos Aires (2002).

That year she began to work with a village of Ao Po’i weavers in Yataity, Paraguay, in consultation with the curator and cultural promoter Ticio Escobar (b. 1947). This led to a sustained and fertile partnership between art and handicrafts based on the reappropriation, identification and recreation of traditional fabrics. Situación de Estudio: El vértigo de lo lento [Case study: the vertigo of going slowly, 2002-2012] is one of her best-known installations. In 2004 she undertook expeditions along the Paraná River to collect sound samples in the morning and at nightfall, in a landscape condemned to disappear, a reiteration of the tradition of explorer/artists. These travels gave rise to her Paisaje Misionero [Landscape from Misiones, 2005] and the cloth and sound installation El Picnic a orillas del río Paraná [Picnic on the banks of the Paraná, 2007]. Around 2010 she made large-format pencil landscapes featuring local fauna and flora. Some five years later, at the Primera Bienal Internacional de Asunción, she and Adriana Bustos (b. 1965) presented the project Plantío Barrett [Barrett Garden], a symbolic reappropriation of land in front of the Paraguay National Congress carried out together with the Conamuri organisation of peasant and indigenous women. Her large-format works combine swatches and appliqués of garments and blankets with embroidered colour highlights, intermixed with black and white drawings, thus generating profoundly beautiful microcosms.

Maite Paramio

Translated from the Spanish by Leo Stephen Torgoff.

A notice produced as part of the TEAM international academic network: Teaching, E-learning, Agency and Mentoring


© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
Mónica Millán — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Mónica Millán, Jardín de la Novia [Garden of the bride], 1999, mixed technique, embroidery on fabrics, tulle, threads, beads, pearls, nail polish, wire, 54 x 94 cm © Courtesy Mónica Millán

Mónica Millán — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

 

Mónica Millán, La niebla rodea todo, compacta, húmeda y blanca [The fog surrounds everything, compact, moist and White], 2007, pencil on paper, 155 x 104 cm © Courtesy Mónica Millán

Mónica Millán — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Mónica Millán, El agua manaba entre las aterciopeladas hojas, las pudorosas ipomeas y el  vuelo trémulo de las mariposas [The water flowed between the velvety leaves, the modest ipomeas and the tremulous flight of the butterflies], series El Río Bordeado[The bordered river], 2007, pencil on paper, 150 x 200 cm © Courtesy Mónica Millán

Mónica Millán — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Mónica Millán, El vértigo de lo lento [The vertigo of going slowly], 2002-2012, installation, pencil drawings on paper, cotton fabrics on a loom, cotton fabrics on needle lace, pieces of adobe and straw and cane honey, wooden chairs and benches for the weavers, variable dimensions © Courtesy Mónica Millán

Mónica Millán — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Mónica Millán, El vértigo de lo lento [The vertigo of going slowly], 2002-2012, installation, pencil drawings on paper, cotton fabrics on a loom, cotton fabrics on needle lace, pieces of adobe and straw and cane honey, wooden chairs and benches for the weavers, variable dimensions © Courtesy Mónica Millán

Mónica Millán — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Mónica Millán, El vértigo de lo lento [The vertigo of going slowly], 2002-2012, installation, pencil drawings on paper, cotton fabrics on a loom, cotton fabrics on needle lace, pieces of adobe and straw and cane honey, wooden chairs and benches for the weavers, variable dimensions © Courtesy Mónica Millán

Mónica Millán — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Mónica Millán, El viaje por el Río [The river voyage], 1996-1997, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 cm © Courtesy Mónica Millán

Mónica Millán — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Mónica Millán, El viaje por el Río [The river voyage], 1996-1997, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 40 cm © Courtesy Mónica Millán

Mónica Millán — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Mónica Millán, El viaje por el Río [The river voyage], 1996-1997, acrylic on canvas, 30 x 40 cm © Courtesy Mónica Millán

Mónica Millán — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Mónica Millán, Elisa, series El vértigo de lo lento [The vertigo of going slowly], 2001-2012, pencil on paper, 55 x 75 cm © Courtesy Mónica Millán

Mónica Millán — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Mónica Millán, Jardín de la Nube [Garden of the cloud], 1999, mixed technique, embroidery on fabrics, tulle, threads, beads, wire, 39 x 39 x 13 cm © Courtesy Mónica Millán

Mónica Millán — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Mónica Millán, Jardines de Resonancias [Gardens of resonances], 2002, sound installation with the voice of the artist and light with adobe, feathers, roots, branches, straw, dry leaves, etc., variable dimensions, Museo de Arte Moderno © Courtesy Mónica Millán

Mónica Millán — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Mónica Millán, Jardines de Resonancias [Gardens of resonances], 2002, sound installation with the voice of the artist and light with adobe, feathers, roots, branches, straw, dry leaves, etc., variable dimensions, Museo de Arte Moderno © Courtesy Mónica Millán

Mónica Millán — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Mónica Millán, Paisaje Misionero [Landscape from Misiones], 2004-2005, installation of sounds extracted from the mountains and the voice of the artist from two rowing expeditions down the Paraná River, Misiones © Courtesy Mónica Millán

Mónica Millán — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Mónica Millán, Picnic a orillas del río Paraná [Picnic on the banks of the Paraná], 2007-2015, textile, light and sound installation, woollen blanket, crocheted flowers and stems by weaving machine, wool, silk threads, sounds extracted from nature during two expeditions down the Paraná River, sound editing by Mene Savasta Alsina, 2.30 x 1.90 x 2 m, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes © Courtesy Mónica Millán

Mónica Millán — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Mónica Millán, Picnic a orillas del río Paraná [Picnic on the banks of the Paraná], 2007-2015, textile, light and sound installation, woollen blanket, crocheted flowers and stems by weaving machine, wool, silk threads, sounds extracted from nature during two expeditions down the Paraná River, sound editing by Mene Savasta Alsina, 2.30 x 1.90 x 2 m, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes © Courtesy Mónica Millán

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